Jose Mourinho says Southampton away is a tough prospect in the next round of the FA Cup – but that they will not be relishing facing his Spurs side.
Tottenham eased into the next round with Tuesday night’s 2-1 replay win against Championship side Middlesbrough and the week after next make a quick return to the south coast – where they recently lost 1-0 in a Premier League clash.
The Saints are reborn, having made a remarkable recovery from the 9-0 mauling at home to Leicester City a few months ago and are once again no pushovers.
“They are on fire,” said the Spurs boss. “They are winning matches home and away. Great results. They were in the dark zone and now they are shining. So we know that it’s going to be a difficult tie.
“The luck is not with us in the draws – two away, difficult matches at Middlesbrough and now Southampton. But it is what it is. I think Southampton also they feel that they could have a much easier tie.”
Mourinho was indebted to Argentinian pair Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela who both netted in the opening 15 minutes against Boro to put Spurs on their way to victory.
Both were outstanding and their head coach was very mindful of the special place Argentinian players have in the fabric of the club.
“You want to call them [Ossie] Ardiles and [Ricky] Villa?” Mourinho said with a smile.
“They played very well. I think Ardiles and Villa wouldn’t be ashamed of that tonight, for sure.
“Lamela was out for so long. He was coming step by step, 10 minutes a game, 20, half an hour against Liverpool [last weekend] and 90 minutes today. Gio again, step by step. He was so, so good today.”
Less eye-catching was Christian Eriksen, who may be on the move this month. But the Portuguese professed satisfaction with the Dane’s performance.
“Played very well,” Mourinho said. “Very professional, which is what I expect from him and if his decision is to leave, I think he has to leave with his head up – which is what he tried to do for the team. We have to respect, but I think the boy did it for us today.”
Spurs had the game in the bag long before the end, but allowed Boro to grab a late goal, which made for a slightly uncomfortable finish.
Mourinho said: “I think the team played very well, especially in the first half. Second half, we started losing some passes in midfield, had some sloppy actions, and we gave them the chance to feel that they were in the game.
“But I think for the majority of the time, when the energy was there and we were intense and played fast, we should score more goals to kill a tough tie. They were in the game for the last 10 minutes and credit to them for that.”